In the fall of 1987, Toni Halstead and her family joined Trinity. They had moved to Richmond from Atlanta. When Trinity associate pastor, David Adkins, learned that Toni was a certified aerobics instructor, he asked her if she would be interested in teaching an aerobics class at Trinity.
Toni had been looking for opportunities to start teaching aerobics classes in Richmond, and she accepted. In January 1988, Trinity offered its first aerobic classes. Two nights a week the class met, and childcare was provided. Before she knew it, those first two classes grew to nine class offerings a week at Trinity. Those expanded classes included—low impact, step, and senior aerobics.
By 2000, Toni had completed the certification requirements to teach yoga. Toni brought a Christian approach to yoga as the classes provided an opportunity to become physically and spiritually healthy.
It is hard to believe that 30 years have passed since the initial start of the aerobics classes. But what is even more amazing is this–$70,000 has been raised from the small fee participants were charged to take a class. Toni opted to place these fees into an Aerobics Fund. Over the years, those funds have been used in a variety of ways from community outreach in Richmond, UMCOR, and specials needs within Trinity.
Toni has continued to expand her certification in yoga. She has a strong interest in the healing benefits of yoga. Toni’s advanced certifications allow her to work with individuals who are aging, those battling cancer, and managing stress. Her focus on spiritual healing and growth is linked to a favorite Bible verse of Toni’s: “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10.
Additionally, Toni has recruited two very gifted instructors for the five classes that are currently offered at Trinity.
Dee Higgins has been teaching yoga for many years. Her love of yoga came from being a student. This love pushed Dee to obtaining her certification as well. Dee teaches a Chair Yoga class that meets in the Welcome Center on Monday afternoons starting at 3 p.m.
Unlike her peers Toni and Dee, our third instructor Candice Dion, in 2008 had a light bulb moment related to her unhealthy and inactive lifestyle. That moment resulted in Candice losing 165 pounds. She became a certified Zumba instructor in 2011. This was followed by additional certifications in Alternative Health Counselor and Herbalist. Candice teaches Aerobics in Trinity Hall on Tuesday and Thursdays mornings starting at 10:30.
Additionally, Toni has kept Trinity in her instructional schedule. She teaches Chair Aerobics in the Welcome Center on Wednesday afternoons at 3:00, and Thursday mornings at 8:30, Toni teaches a Mixed-level Yoga class in Room 321.
So, David Adkins, has been proven to be a very wise man.
Who could have guessed that 30 years later these offerings would continue to impact lives in more ways than we thought possible.
It is quite a story, and thanks to Toni, Candice, and Dee, a story with more chapters ahead.